A lasp-gasp 89th minute strike from Nathan Fisher denied the Dolly Blues what would have been a fantastic away victory at play-off chasing Spennymoor Town on Saturday afternoon.
Jacob Gregory scored a superb effort early in the second half to give Phil Brown’s side a deserved lead but City couldn’t quite survive the late onslaught from the hosts.
The hosts looked off from the first whistle, whilst Lancaster were on the front foot and commanding in midfield.
With new signings Craig Carney and Tom Kilifin both starting the Dollies side had extra bite, tenacity and energy.
Gregory on the right wing put in a standout performance and was a constant source of threat for the visitors. His positive, driving runs down the right flank created the only half chances of the first half with Gregory firing narrowly wide early in the game.
Later in the half, after cutting inside from the byline, the wing-back’s low cross flashed across goal but just eluded Kilifin at the back post.
The main talking point of the first half was a heavy challenge by Carney on Spennymoor winger Anthony Peacock. The City midfielder was committed to the 50/50 challenge, winning the ball with Peacock coming worse off. The hosts were baying for blood as Carney was awarded a caution and a stern warning.
In the second half the game began to open up as the rain poured down. Danny Frost had a golden chance to open the scoring for Moors but his shot from just inside the box was dragged wide of the far post.
The chance for Lancaster came just 10 minutes into the half and was superbly taken.
Kilifin took a battering from two players on the halfway line to set Ryan Winder off on the counter attack up the Moors’ slope. The lobbed through ball that followed was perfect for Gregory to run onto, round ‘keeper Lowson and slot away in style.
The best chance for City to double their lead came with 15 minutes to go.
Gregory cut inside again and this time elected to shoot from a tight angle. His low shot was palmed into the box by Lowson and in the scramble the ball broke to Billy Akrigg but the ball bobbled on the cut-up surface and the resultant effort sailed agonisingly over the bar.
The final part of the game was a real assault on the Lancaster backline by the hosts, attacking down the slope in numbers and bombarding the City defence with crosses and long balls.
After a dangerous looking free-kick with minutes to go was hit into the defensive wall and cleared for a corner it looked as though this might just be the Dolly Blues’ day.
But the cruel blow for Brown’s men arrived with just seconds left in normal time.
A defence splitting through ball set substitute striker Fisher through on goal. The shot was low, powerful, and Mike Hale in the City goal could only get a fingertip to the ball on its way to the back of the net.
Lancaster City: Hale 7, Henry 7, Mercer 8, Marshall 7, Clark 7, Gregory 9, Akrigg 7, Watson 8, Winder 7, Carney 8, Kilifin 7
Star Man: Jacob Gregory – A revelation in new attacking role.